The Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN) salutes the workers and people of Mali over their steadfast struggle against the corrupt, anti-poor government of Ibrahim Keita, which was removed eventually via a military coup on August 18, 2020. However, experience in other countries in Africa and elsewhere shows that they should not trust the military junta led by Colonel Assimi Goita, which has taken over power in the country.
The major lesson that must be learnt from the failure of the ousted Keita government to resolve the economic problem, corruption and insecurity bedevilling the country is that no government formed on the basis of capitalism is capable of lifting the country out of the various socioeconomic burdens under which it groans.
It should be recalled that Keita government emerged from an election held a year after the 2012 coup which ousted President Amadou Touré with the promise to fix the socio-economic problems and unite an increasingly divided country. The government was not only unable to resolve the economic crisis and the problem of insurgency. for which it was elected, the situation also got worse on its watch. So much so, that Keita’s party, the RPM, rigged elections to retain power.
The SPN also commends the protesters for not yielding to the pressure from the equally corrupt and inept leaders of ECOWAS, including President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his predecessor President Goodluck Jonathan, who was an ECOWAS special envoy. He hoped to save Keita and his anti-poor government. The intervention of the ECOWAS was aimed at averting Keita’s removal through an uprising, so as not to serve as an inspiration to the citizens of other countries who groan under similar socio-economic crises as Malians. Just like Keita, virtually all of the ECOWAS leaders also brutally repress any protest or action against their misrule and anti-poor policies in their respective countries. Any attempt by ECOWAS to intervene in Mali must be opposed and all foreign troops withdrawn from the country.
Mass protests since parliamentary elections
Mali has been shaken by mass protests since parliamentary elections earlier this year. This is why it cannot be ruled out that the so-called military coup could just be an arrangement and agreement among the civilian pro-capitalist elite in Mali and other ECOWAS countries, in connivance with its military counterparts, to quickly carry out a change in the regime and preserve the system of capitalist exploitation. This is in order to avert a situation whereby such a task will be undertaken by the mass movement of working people, which could definitely threaten the continued existence of capitalism and its government, not only in Mali but also in other Africa countries.
From the experience of Egypt and Sudan, this military junta, which has taken the undue advantage of the mass action of the people to assume power, will continue the essence of the Keita government’s policies, as it will rest on the same capitalist system. So rather than holding any hope in the military junta, we call on workers, ordinary people and their mass organisations to demand and set about organising the convocation of a revolutionary constituent assembly. Such an assembly, with elected representatives from workers organisations, social movements and ethnic nationalities, subject to recall by their electors, should discuss how the country can be better democratically structured and run with a view to organize a new election while itself acts as the government in the interim.
We call on the working masses and youth to realise that on the basis of capitalism none of the issues that led to the mass protests against Keita will be resolved under the military junta. Most likely, more anti-poor policies and repressive measures may be introduced by the junta to sustain its rule. This would mean a further collapse of democratic rights including press freedom and the right to association and speech. Also, as we saw in Nigeria in the 1990s, any ‘transition programme’ may be prolonged by the junta to keep itself in power. So it is only by struggle that the masses can get anything just as in the days of Keita.
The working masses and youth should be prepared to begin to organise to fight, not to pack up and expect Eldorado. There should be no involvement in any provisional government that rests on the basis of capitalism. We call on the trade unions and pro-masses’ organisations to now begin to demand jobs, a new minimum wage and payment of owed wages and pensions, free public education and health care, end to all anti-poor policies, no to attacks on democratic rights, including press freedom and right to speech, assembly and peaceful protest, all government officials including junta officials on workers’ wage, and nationalisation of key sectors of the economy under the democratic control of working people.
By and large, the national question, as manifested in the ethno-religious insurgency in the northern and central parts of Mali, and the egregious economic crisis that grips the country, cannot be resolved on the basis of capitalism. Working people must organise their own, democratically controlled, forces to defend themselves against sectarian attack and keep order.
We of the SPN call on workers, ordinary people, trade unions and social movement to build a mass political movement on a socialist programme that will wrest political power from the corrupt capitalist elites, both civilian and military, with a view of establishing a working peoples’ government on a socialist programme in Mali that will unite the country and place it on the path of sustainable development.
Abiodun Bamigboye Chinedu Bosah
Acting National Chairperson National Secretary